Halle's baby bump stirs pregnancy-after-40 debate

April 10, 2013 6:50:21 AM PDT
She surprised fans with her recent baby news -- Halle Berry is pregnant with her second child at age 46.

But the actress isn't alone -- statistics show the number of women having babies in their forties is on the rise. But these older moms also face health risks.

The National Center for Health Statistics says birth rates for women in their late thirties and forties are on the rise but at historic lows in almost all other age groups.

Getting pregnant for these older moms is not easy and it doesn't come without risk. Doctors say by 40, a woman's chance of getting pregnant is less than five percent per cycle -- so a natural pregnancy is rare.

The health issues they face include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and miscarriages.

Older moms are also at risk for aged eggs. Doctors do have tests that can determine if the child will have chromosomal problems because of aged eggs -- but doctors say the risks vary from patient to patient.

The upside for people like Halle Berry is she looks to be healthy and has money for excellent health care.

Doctors say the mother's health plays a large role in the outcome of the pregnancy.